Rev. Jeffery W. Paulish was arrested and charged with one felony count of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and one felony count of unlawful contact with a minor after police in Dunmore say they caught him with a 15-year-old boy in a car. The boy was not wearing any pants.
Paulish, who is 56, is also a Catholic priest. He is now being held in the Lackawana county jail.
Paulish said he was at the campus to work on his homily when he met the teen. The teen, he claimed, needed counseling for emotional distress, which he was providing. According to police, Paulish also said he verified the boy’s age at least three times with the boy replying he was 18.
Paulish later admitted to police he met the boy on Craigslist.
Paulish has been removed from his post at the Prince of Peace parish and has been suspended from acting in the capacity of a priest, according to a statement released by the Diocese of Scranton.
The diocese pledged its cooperation with the investigation, and it called on anyone who “may have been sexually abused by Father Paulish or any member of the clergy” to notify the district attorney’s office.
“I wish to acknowledge how unsettling this is to me personally and to countless others, that yet again a priest has been involved in such inappropriate, immoral and illegal behavior,” the Bishop of Scranton, the Rev. Joseph Bambera, said in the statement.